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from Origo by Vanessa Von Mollendorf

Chapter 3

Wind tugged at her long hair. Chareos’ muscles bunched under Fayne as he moved through the rocky landscape. He leaned to the side, narrowly missing a sliver of rock. Disembowelment was thankfully not on the menu. Chareos was a free spirit and Fayne never rode him with a saddle. She allowed him to run, placing her trust in his sharp sight and sharper instincts. He never disappointed. Together they streaked through Barden; Fayne hanging on for dear life. Sphinxes were capable of covering vast distances in a short amount of time. This was Fayne’s freedom; the only time she ever felt fully alive. 

She gave Chareos a clear mental image of the destination she had in mind. The sphinx changed direction and they flew; pebbles scattering from his splayed paws. He looked back, a grin on his strong, masculine face.  

Time for a shave, Chareos, she mentally projected at him. 

Shaving, who has time? I do not preen like the others. I live for this, he answered as he put on another burst of speed. Fayne sunk lower and buried her hands in his fur. They raced towards the hot water springs. Fayne allowed her cares to drift away.

Several minutes passed in which Fayne and Chareos became one creature. The only sound was the thud of paws, the sphinx’s harsh breathing, Fayne’s heartbeat and the keening wind. On the plains the wind never stopped its lusty wail. The Aod had even given it a name- Gaoth, an ancient wind god. If there ever was a place where the gods fury could be spent, this was it. It was an arid landscape with little vegetation, save the odd Joshua tree and barrowtail bushes. Chareos headed towards a large rock outcropping and slowed his pace. 

I shall be glad to relieve the spring of some sulphate.

Not before I have had a chance to bathe in it, Fayne admonished him. 

We’ll see.

On their previous visit to the springs, Chareos had slurped up half of the water. The spring fi...

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